My first 30-day experiment has now run it’s course and it’s time to post the results. The experiment consisted of me doing Resistance Stretching exercises for 30 days, every day. Unfortunately, there was a small glitch along the way: I paused the experiment for four days due to a minor knee-injury. To compensate, I extended the experiment by four days, so I hope you agree that it still counts as a 30-day experiment. Now, let’s take a look at the before-and-after pics and the measurement data, before we get to my conclusion of the experiment:
The following pictures simply show a comparison of my benchmark stretches done before I started the experiment (and posted here, previously) and the pictures of the same stretches after the experiment.
For the central split, I did make a bit of progress, but it’s still uncomfortable to hold and it’s not as much progress as I had hoped for. Before the experiment, I would mainly feel tension in the muscles being stretched. By now, it feels more like my hip joints are hitting the limits of their mobility.
SIDEWAYS SPLIT, LEFT
For the sideways split, I definitely experienced some progress, especially concerning the flexibility of my hamstrings.
SIDEWAYS SPLIT, RIGHT
Interestingly, my results for the sideways splits were different, depending on which side I was facing. On the pictures, it’s hard to tell, but it will be clear to see once we look at the data. What surprised me about this is that before the experiment, I got identical results for facing left or right. Now, after the experiment, my flexibility for the sideways stretch is asymmetrical, even though I tried to stretch both sides equally. I really don’t know how this happened, but it’s an interesting observation.
The toe-touch improved slightly, but not dramatically. Since I didn’t relax my neck properly when I took the “before”-picture, the progress looks a bit exaggerated here. But you can see that I made a bit of “real” progress by how much my arms are bent in each pic.
JOINING HANDS BEHIND BACK
Before the experiment, I noticed a distinct asymmetry in my arms’ flexibility: With my right arm, I couldn’t reach behind my back as easily as with my left arm. Resistance Stretching seems to have smoothed out most of this asymmetry, as is apparent in the above pictures. Reaching behind my back still doesn’t feel as comfortable with my right arm as with my left arm, but it’s noticeably better than before the experiment.
|Before (cm)||After (cm)||Before (in)||After (in)|
|Sideways Split, left||21||18||8.3||7.1|
|Sideways Split, right||21||15||8.3||5.9|
|Improvement (cm)||Improvement (in)|
|Sideways Split, left||3||1.2|
|Sideways Split, right||6||2.4|
I have to say that I am not entirely happy with the outcome. While I did improve my flexibility in all aspects measured, none of the improvements were dramatic. More importantly, I think I would have gotten similar results with traditional stretching techniques, had I done those every day for 30 days (although I can’t know for sure). Here’s where it would be really handy to have a clone as a control.
The problem is that the book (Genius of Flexibility) hopelessly overhypes the method it describes. While it’s normal and expected that any author will hype his own methods, Genius of Flexibility just goes too far. From a method that promises instant, never before seen improvements to your flexibility from the moment you start using it, you just expect more than a few inches shaved off your split after 30 days of daily practice. The book also promises that Resistance Stretching is a miracle-cure-for-everything (as I mentioned in this post). Surprise! It isn’t. Again, this is not completely unexpected, but it makes me wonder why all those claims should even be included in the first place? I think if the book’s premise had simply been “here’s a new stretching technique that will yield decent results and doesn’t take much time to do” I would have been quite happy with it. I would have still bought it and I would have gotten what I was promised.
Having said all that, I must add that I’m not ready to conclude my Resistance Stretching experiment just yet. After all i did get results and Resistance Stretching takes less time than traditional stretching, so it does have it’s advantages. As a stretching exercise for martial arts (which is what I’m stretching for) it’s still the best I’ve encountered so far. Another way to put that is: My experience with stretching exercises in general has been quite underwhelming.
I will be experimenting with using Resistance Stretching with a partner, next. I suspect that doing the exercises with someone to help might yield much better results. It might also be more fun. I’ll let you know how that goes and update the results, if anything update-worthy transpires.
Part 1: The Problem with Stretching
Part 2: Introducing Resistance Stretching
Part 3: Method and Benchmarks
Part 4: Q&A with Anne Tierney, Resistance Stretching Expert
Part 5: Update and Subjective Impressions
Part 6: Before and After (currently viewing)